The State Grid Corporation of China secured the No. 1 position on the annual list of the country's top 500 businesses, thanks to an operating income of about 413 billion yuan (US$50 billion) for 2003.
The Top 500 list is included in the Report on the Development of Chinese Enterprises, released this past weekend by the China Enterprise Confederation (CEC).
Last year's top firm, China National Petroleum Corp (CNPC), moved down a notch to second place, while oil company Sinopec retained its third-place position.
The voluminous annual report on the nation's enterprises analyzes a wide range of topics, such as foreign companies in China, reform of state-owned enterprises, company management priorities and profiles of entrepreneurs.
Private enterprises have emerged in China's economy, with 14.8 percent of the top 500 enterprises now owned by private investors. Just 3.8 percent were privately owned in 2002, when the CEC began publishing the list.
CEC Deputy General Director Chen Zhong noted that China had only three enterprises on the global 500 list in 1995; but the number has now increased to 18. He said that many companies have rapidly sharpened their competitiveness.
But China's enterprises are still small in scale compared with the international giants, according to the CEC's report.
To grow, Chen suggested Chinese enterprises should stress core competitiveness, efficient management of human resources and brand strategies.
(China Daily September 6, 2004)